Graduating the Graduate Program

 18 months, 6 placements, 6 fresh-faced graduate trainees, one incredible journey!

With placement locations spanning the globe, high-profile projects reporting into senior management and relocating and taking on new projects every 3 months, the TUI Specialist & Activity Sector Graduate Leadership Program has been quite a journey! To mark the end of the 2011-2013 graduate intake, we have put together a video montage using a selection of photos taken over the course of our graduate program. Though this can only begin to document both the exhilarating, and often surreal highs, alongside the arduous, self-questioning challenges of the graduate program, we hope you will enjoy this snippet of our TUI journey so far… And now as we move into new roles within the company (and wave a teary goodbye to Laura) we thank you for your support over the past 18 months and for the opportunities the TUI SAS Graduate Leadership Program has given us. 


You can access our Graduate Program Video Montage here!


2011-2013 TUI SAS Graduate Intake

Categories: Ben Cook, Ben Gill, Deborah, Jennifer, Kelly, Laura | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

When in Wimbledon

Kelly takes the opportunity to enjoy a spot of tennis after work

In this third placement, I am working for the TUI Marine Division. Whilst I may not be based in sunny Florida, I am very much enjoying life in “SW19”, working with the Sector Marketing Director. Our office here is home to some of the sports brands, and has the added benefit of being a short distance away from the All England Lawn Tennis Club…

On Monday, strawberries were brought in by the truck-load and grass courts were mowed to carpet-like perfection, as Wimbledon opened its gates for the 2012 Championships. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to witness some of the action, Ali and I decided to make our way over on day 1, straight from work. The notorious “Queue” (oh, so British!) was surprisingly short, so by about 6 o’clock we were in the grounds.

I played a lot of tennis during my school days and have always enjoyed following Wimbledon on the TV, so it was really exciting for me to get a first-hand experience of the tournament and see some matches up close. As it was the first day, there was play on every court and we managed to see some good ladies’ singles matches, watching players such as Kirilenko and Hantuchova.

All in all, a great experience… I am now even more excited about working with Sportsworld (a TUI brand) at the next big UK sports event – the London 2012 Olympics!

If only we were as good at tennis as Federer and Sharapova!

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Kelly’s doing snow work

Kelly updates us on her placement at Crystal’s cold front line

When you work for a travel company, many people ask if you get to go and test out the holidays, but unfortunately your standard response is just to smile and say ‘I wish!’

However, to a certain extent, that is what I am doing right now.

Evaluating the quality of the snow 😉

My new placement is overseas with Crystal Ski & Snowboard – the UK’s largest ski tour operator – and I’ve been tasked with reviewing the customer experience. Coming in with ‘fresh eyes’, I will be looking at the different ‘touch points’ and seeing if we as a company are demonstrating the right expertise and the right times. From a personal development point of view, it’s great to see tour operations from the bottom up. I have worked in operational roles previously, but never on as huge a scale as Crystal; it’s both very impressive and quite daunting!

Two of Crystal’s major destinations are Austria and France, so I am currently spending the first half of my placement in Mayrhofen,Austria and then I will complete the second half of my placement in Courchevel, France. I’m two weeks in, and so far, so good. I’ve been to 3 different resorts, met about 20 reps, been on 3 ski escorting days, 2 team meetings, 1 managers’ meeting, 8 transfers several après events, and eaten lots of Goulasch soup….

Now I’d better get back to work. This week sees a visit to a Crystal Finest chalet in St Anton and probably joining some group ski-escorting. I know, I know – it’s a tough job – but somebody has to do it!

Categories: Kelly | 1 Comment

Want to win a trip of a lifetime?

Kelly promotes the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ competition at iExplore.

Have you heard of iExplore? It’s the brand new portal for the Specialist & Activity Sector brands and whose team I am currently working with here in Brighton. The site went live in October and our official PR launch followed in November.

Check out the site and what it has to offer at

Now that you’ve had a look, how about winning £5,100 to spend an iExplore trip? (Sorry fellow grads, TUI employees aren’t allowed to enter… I’m posting this for any other people reading the blog who might want to give it a go!)

Lazy sailing in the Caribbean? Trekking Kilimanjaro? Helping orphan orangutans in Borneo? Well if you enter our Trip of a Lifetime competition on Facebook your idle holiday dreams might just come true.

How to enter? Just upload a ‘thrillaxing’ photo or video, share it with your friends and ask them to vote for you. Easy! What’s all this about ‘thrillaxing’? Find out here.

And that’s not all. There are heaps of runners up prizes too, including iExplore gear and T-shirts.

Time’s ticking so don’t miss out – upload your entry and check out the gallery on our Facebook page.

Good luck!

Categories: Kelly | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

TUI Grad Team Features in Sports Day Write Up

Our very own Team Shaky Face features on the TUI Sports Day write up…

JCA have today posted their summary of the TUI Sports Weekend’s events on TUI intranet Discover.

For those of you who have access to Discover, you can view the full story on the Specialist & Activity news feed, otherwise take a look at the story below:

TUI Sports Day 2011

TUI Sports Day 2011

Categories: Jennifer, Kelly, Laura | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

One Night in Brighton…

TUI Grads in Brighton

TUI Grads in Brighton

Laura talks about her first trip to Brighton…

Yesterday, I left the Real Gap office and made the hour long journey down to Brighton to visit the TUI PPC team and also meet up with the other grads to discuss our project.

Throughout my placement so far, I’ve really tried to take as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the business as a whole, so visiting Brighton was a key goal of mine. With the TUI SEO and PPC teams based down there, and with those teams running the online campaigns for Real Gap and i to i, I really wanted to understand how this process worked and how the teams aligned themselves and communicated to work in the most efficient way.

I had a really useful meeting with Jo Bradbury who told me about the PPC strategy and also introduced me to AdInsight, which I’ll blog about more in the future (it’s incredible!), and will be keeping in touch with her to further my knowledge. PPC is such an important part of many budgets so understanding how it works, along with how the team works, is key.

I particularly like that Jo and her team are understood as an agency who are also a part of TUI – what a fantastic opportunity for brands to have expert guidance and the high level of service whilst being confident that the team working for them understands their brand completely.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with Kelly, Jen and Ben (with Ben and Deborah dialled in from the States) listening to a presentation from Janet on their graduate project, which was incredibly useful and, in fact, essential to the success of our graduate project, which we’ll be completing over the next 18 months.

Finally, we went out for dinner at Comos, Brighton, where we enjoyed a lovely meal and enjoyed the ever-developing entertainment form that is Ben’s ‘mo’. We even developed an idea to keep the mo for future months… keep watching for more details!

It was a really useful day and, aside from anything else, really interesting to see the office Kelly works in and meet more of the team from around the Sector.

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TUI Sports Weekend at Condover Hall

TUI Sports Weekend Grad Team

TUI Sports Weekend Grad Team

Laura, Kelly and Jennifer tell all about their weekend with JCA…


This week, Jen, Kelly and I headed north to Shrewsbury to spend the weekend at JCA’s activity centre Condover Hall.

The weekend was a fantastic opportunity to get to know more about the activity centre and to experience it from a customer’s point of view. It was also a good chance for us to get together and show the other teams that the grads are a force to be reckoned with!

From the moment we arrived, we were in awe of the beauty of the location and the warmth of the welcome we received. The hall itself is a spectacular Grade 1 listed Elizabethan mansion and the multi-million pound investment by TUI has turned it into a true playground for the adventurous; we knew we were in for a good time!

Saturday saw us take part in various school sports style activities – including a giant sack race, an egg and spoon race and an apple bobbing competition where the water dip was followed by immersion of our faces in flour to retrieve a sweet (not one for the faint hearted!). In the afternoon, we took part in various activities, the most notable of which were the terrifying Gladiator Wall and the intricate indoor tunnelling (which was challenging even for those who didn’t suffer from claustrophobia). Special mention has to go to Jen for completing the tunnel challenge despite her fear and gaining us some valuable points.

In all, the weekend was a fantastic experience. The staff at Condover Hall are extremely passionate about their jobs and maintain a level of energy and enthusiasm throughout the day that the rest of us could only dream of! It is their personality and warmth which really made the weekend for me and I learned the incredibly valuable lesson that the staff who actually deliver the product are hugely important in how a product is perceived. I hope to carry that lesson with me throughout my career with TUI and would love to undertake a more operational role in one of my placements.

I’ll definitely be back next year!


“Great team building” was a phrase that I heard several times at the TUI Sports weekend and it’s absolutely true. The event was all about team building- be it chatting in the car on the 4 hour journey, applying our pink face paint, competing in the races, or singing karaoke in the evening. We worked together, motivated each other and shared funny moments… It really was an unforgettable weekend.

My favourite race was the giant sack race. With all of your group in one giant plastic sack, you aint going nowhere if you don’t work as a team. I’m proud to say we started the day well, crossing the finish line way ahead of everyone else in this first race!  “One, two, three, jump! One, two, three, jump!”

I had a great time with Jen and Laura, the other graduates of ‘Global Rocket’ who I’d mostly met before (they came third, well done!) and also enjoyed meeting other TUI colleagues from all over. We were particularly impressed with the efforts of ‘The Undutchables’ who came all the way from Rotterdam (and one from Belgium)…

Look forward to seeing you there next year. In the meantime, watch this space for our TUI Sports Day video!


When I began this Graduate Program I expected to learn a lot of things; to develop my business acumen, to enhance my understanding of financial accounts and to learn more about how TUI Travel functions internally. What I did not expect, to my delight, was to get to spend a weekend reliving my youth at my very first Sports Day!!!

Unfortunately we never had one in my school while growing up so naturally I was very excited to have to opportunity to recapture this void in my childhood!

I was all prepared for the stereotypical Sports Day. I had visions of egg and spoon races, sack races all your typical School Sports Day activity. However, what I experienced at Condover Hall was something else! Egg and spoon races where the spoon has to be held between your legs, sack races with five people in a bag, even a bouncy castle and giant gorilla which formed part of an obstacle course – everything here had a twist on it.

Exceeding my expectations doesn’t truly do Condover Hall justice. Scaling the gladiator wall, navigating the laser maze, crawling through the tunnel (which to be honest for someone who is claustrophobic is probably one of the scariest things I have ever done!!!) and countless more activities that made the weekend a spectacular success for all involved.

One thing that struck me particular was the staff.  Without doubt they made the weekend! Their genuine enthusiasm for everything we did was contagious and created a fantastic fun and competitive atmosphere.

Even though my muscles are still aching, I am covered in bruises and still don’t feel like all the mud and flour has been washed off, I can say without doubt that it that it was worth  every second!!!

Categories: Jennifer, Kelly, Laura | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kelly enters into the mysterious world of eCommerce…

The Brighton Wheel

The Brighton Wheel

Kelly shares her knowledge of eCommerce…

Test your knowledge of eCommerce acronyms! Of the 8 below, how many do you know?!


[answers at the bottom]

None? Some? All of them?

Let’s just say that in my first week with the eCommerce team, my language level in techie speak has rapidly gone from absolute beginner, to pre-intermediate. There’s no way I could actually do what the PPC team do, nor manage the XML feeds, or go into the details of SEO. However, the important thing is that I can now understand what is being said around me and how it is all relevant.  In fact, perhaps I could add it as a ‘conversational’ language on my TUI profile…

I’ve sat down with 9 different people and learnt about their 9 different specialities. Despite their somewhat dull sounding names (the specialities, that is, not the people), the different functions of eCommerce really can be fascinating. What has struck me the most is how, if you run an online business, today’s technology gives you access to enormous amounts of useful data and tools (and very often without paying a penny). That data can be hugely informative in decisions you make about your marketing, your site layout and design, and your business strategy: and those well-informed decisions ultimately increase your revenue…

A few examples: with ‘analytics’ packages, you can measure how people are arriving at your website, where they’re from, what pages they are looking at and for how long, and at what stage they leave. With tools like ‘Google Insights’ you can see how many customers are searching for particular terms, and patterns over the year. With user-testing you can see how people navigate your site, and gain valuable insights into what works well and what simply doesn’t work. Then you can try out changes (using an ‘A/B test’) and see the exact figures of how your ‘conversion’ rate improves – be it in terms of bookings, enquiries, or simply e-mail sign-ups.

I hope this doesn’t sound too technical. It did sound complicated to me at first. But it actually doesn’t have to be. And even if you have technophobic tendencies, you’d be foolish to ignore the gems of information that are just a click away…

Answers: Uniform Resource Locator/ Universal Resource Locator… , Pay-per-click, Internet Service Provider, Content Management System, Search Engine Optimisation, eXtensible Markup Language, Rich Site Summary/ Really Simple Syndication, Customer Relationship Management.

Categories: Kelly | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Enter Kelly Roche


I’m Kelly Roche and I cannot wait to start the graduate development programme this autumn! It’s such a privilege to have been chosen from so many applicants.

I studied modern languages at Cambridge University which involved a year abroad in Salamanca, Spain. Since graduating in June 2010, I have been living and working in Berlin a fantastic city!

Most of my work experience has been in tourism, educational travel and English language teaching. Whilst all of the divisions appeal to my interests, I am particularly excited about working in the fast-growing Education Division.


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